Melbournian Philip Brophy has been obsessed with film sound and music for years. He has created it, written about it, taught it and even organised an annual conference that celebrated the often ignored or misunderstood art form. The concept behind his latest work is intriguing to say the least. A commission from the Melbourne Film Festival in 2004 it is part of an ongoing series of composing scores to existing films. Though this is where it gets interesting. Rather than getting in line behind the Cinematic Orchestra and Michael Nyman and hacking out another score to a the Man With The Movie Camera he’s opted for the little known 1968 French film Aurevelateur. And rather than throwing a few synth based washes of electronics around he’s taken a different approach. And I’ll use his words: “I see my score as a dialogue with the film – something that proposes a ‘cover version’ of the movie rather than any definitive enhancement of the original.” So how do you have a dialogue with Aurevelateur? Indie pop judging from the opener Diamond Sun, which features vocals from Sianna Lee (Love Outside Andromeda) and Brophy himself. Actual songs in a melodic kind’ve catchy French provincial way. Also featuring Dave Brown (Candlesuffer/ Bucketrider) on bass and guitar with Brophy handling keyboards and drums, the score moves into more traditionally filmic minimal areas, though also rocks out in a very satisfying 70’s Krautrock way as Brophy weaves an interesting trajectory throughout not only the course of this album, but the course of individual songs. My Stars Tell Me for example is a piece defined by mannered stasis which just erupts in a frenzy of guitar midway. Then inexplicably there are two covers of Bowie’s Heroes, the second and final version on the album is particularly satisfying, a slightly baroque low-key effort with treated whispered vocals over a strange waltz. And it all stands up independent, of the contextual support of the film – which is quite lucky given that few of us are likely to come into contact with Aureveateur anytime soon.
Bob Baker Fish